This is not a new picture, but I just recently came across it. It’s stunning. I can see a cosmic warrior on horseback or an interstellar dragon emerging from the dust. What do you see?
This. Is. Awesome.
Two weekends ago, we loaded up the kids and went to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (the Dulles annex of the National Air and Space Museum) to see the space shuttle Discovery.
Since Discovery had arrived only a few days before, replacing the Enterprise permanently, there were a lot of people there. Like us, they wanted to get up close to a piece of history.
I look at Discovery–at any space shuttle–and what I see reflected back to me is the human spirit. To me, space shuttles represent the power and fragility, triumph and tragedy, imperfection and ingenuity, the curiosity and will of humanity.
As a race and as individuals, we’ve gotten a lot wrong. I won’t enumerate that list here, but when I think of the courage and intellect and drive that took humans to space (space!) I can’t help but see the image of God shining through us, dimly though it might be.
Rest well, Discovery. You have earned it.
I have a thing about space, something I share with my oldest. It’s not quite a passion, but it’s more than an interest. Part of it is just awe over how mind-blowingly vast and weird space is, and part of it is wonder at how tiny, fragile, and short-lived creatures like us are determined to uncover its secrets. Even if it means spending years building robots to be our vanguards, launching them at the precise right time, and hoping that they can nail that landing when they’re supposed to.
Why, yes, I am talking about Curiosity’s landing on Mars this August. If all goes well, the rover’s touchdown should look like this:
Last week, we discovered a great iPhone/iPad app called Star Walk. Basically, you can take your phone or tablet outside on a starry night (or hey, even in the day!), hold it up in any direction and it’ll tell you what stars and planets you’re looking at–or would be looking at if the sun, the earth, random trees or your neighbor’s pink-turreted house were not in the way. Very fun.
In the mood to help discover new exoplanets for future robotic missions to explore? Look no further than Planet Hunters. I’m planning on setting Sir I. loose on it once life permits.
Do you go stargazing? What do you find fascinating about space?